PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR – Marlon Monte balled out Tuesday night with one thing on his mind – Roxas’ late utility staffer Gerry Cojuangco.
And the former even wrote the latter’s name on his shoes.
Cojuangco passed away during the wee hours of last Sunday due to cardiac arrest. He was 55.
With that, the Vanguards played inspired to breach the win column, hacking out an emotional 89-77 victory against Kapatagan in the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Challenge at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
Monte led the onslaught with a stunning performance of 27 points on 50 percent shooting from the field while draining four triples to go with five rebounds, five assists, and two steals. All that in just 24:57 of floor time.
“Happy na malungkot,” said the Chooks-to-Go Manok ng Bayan player of the game Monte. “Ayun nga nawala si Kuya Gerry pero dine-dedicate namin ‘yung game na ito para sa kanya.
“Si Kuya Gerry matagal ko na siyang kasama eh. MPBL pa lang kasama ko na siya kaya sobrang dami niyang nagawang mabuti sa akin. Kaya hindi ko siya makakalimutan talaga.”
Meanwhile, Vanguards head coach Alvin Grey also remembered his utility – and his friend – during the post-game interview.
The two go way back in 1996, back when the head tactician was still a player. There, friendship was built.
“Actually kami ni Gerry, player pa ako kasama ko na siya eh. 1996 kasama ko na siya,” said Grey.
“Pero mas naging close kami sa Nueva Ecija Patriots noong 1999. Doon na kami nagsama nang matagal.”
And after the match, Roxas huddled, prayed, and pointed to the sky. This is for Kuya Gerry.
The league held a moment of silence for Cojuangco before the game of Pagadian-Iligan on Sunday.